Novelist, Public Relations practitioner and writer, Toni Kan, has been pressured out of a plum role as spokesperson of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq.
For all of Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the youth wing of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) mounted a strident campaign for Kan’s sack by the minister.
Kan’s sin was that he had written essays critical of President Muhammadu Buhari and APC leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the past.
He had also authored fawning pieces touting the opposition PDP presidential candidates in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate Peter Obi.
Some of the essays against APC chieftains had the following titles: ‘The liability called Bola Tinubu’, ‘Ban on AIT, Buhari the dictator is here.’
One of Kan’s essays on Buhari contained the following paragraph: “A president-elect who is already barring press men from events, one month before inauguration, may well see nothing wrong in jailing them and General Buhari has history on his side.”
On the Atiku/Obi candidacy, Kan had written that: “They understand business and economy. Atiku and Obi would be a tag team to beat. They have managed men and resources and made huge successes out of those.
“Obi is a renowned businessman, former chairman of Fidelity Bank and many say major importer of all the Heinz products. Atiku on the other hand practically owns the Onne port which is the South-South’s answer to the Apapa port.
“Atiku’s choice of Obi as running mate and VP will please Ndigbo who continue to feel excluded from the center. An Atiku/Obi ticket would be a major step in the right direction for Ndigbo.”
The campaign for his sack
The hashtag #EnemyWithin was deployed on Twitter to pillory Kan.
The minister and the president were also tagged in tweets calling for Kan’s sack.
The writer would fight back with a hashtag of his own: #WhoisAfraidofToniKan.
“Why can't Toni Kan be media aide? He is well qualified. Professional. Ethical. Rain or Fire he stands firm - M.A and B.A English literature from the universities of Lagos and Jos.
"Best Graduating student both times. Magazine Editor at 26. #whoisafraidoftonikan," the writer had tweeted.
Pulse understands that as the tweets from the APC camp intensified and swarmed the minister’s handle, she was asked by the presidency to relieve Kan of his job.
Appointed about a month ago into the role, Kan’s appointment had been kept under wraps.
Pulse learnt that he was just about to get a formal letter of appointment when youth of the APC got wind of it all and began digging up his critical pieces which they attached to all their tweets calling for his head.
One APC source tells Pulse that Kan was fired at midnight of Tuesday.
“At the behest of HM @Sadiya_farouq @fmhdsd, in the wake of the outcry on twitter over my engagement as Media Consultant I wish to decline the position of Spokesperson. I thank her for the opportunity and wish the ministry all the best,” Kan tweeted on Wednesday, May 27.
It is not the first time young Twitter users of APC persuasion have hounded a critic of the president and the party out of a plum role in the administration.
In June of 2019, journalist Festus Adedayo had to step down from a new role as spokesperson of Senate President Ahmad Lawan after a barrage of online attacks orchestrated by the youth wing of the governing party.
In September of 2019, budget analyst Oluseun Onigbinde, resigned his appointment as Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning after the furore the appointment generated in the social media space.